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South Korea, US stress importance of reviving talks with NK

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun (left) meets with Suh Hoon, the new national security adviser, at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday. (Yonhap)
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun (left) meets with Suh Hoon, the new national security adviser, at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday. (Yonhap)

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun on Thursday stressed the importance of resuming talks with North Korea and vowed to work with South Korea to this end, during his meeting with Suh Hoon, the newly appointed top security adviser to President Moon Jae-in.

The two met at Cheong Wa Dae in the morning, on the last day of Biegun’s three-day visit here. During an hourlong meeting, Biegun, who doubles as Washington’s top nuclear envoy, and Suh talked about North Korea’s recent situation and ways to move forward in achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“Biegun emphasized the importance of resuming US-North Korea talks and decided to continue maintaining close cooperation with South Korea,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

“Suh highly appreciates Biegun’s efforts to restart the US-North Korea talks, and requested (Biegun) to continue with related efforts,” it added.

Biegun also reaffirmed the US government’s strong commitment to the South Korea-US alliance, and the two sides vowed to continue close communication with each other.

The two also discussed various outstanding issues, including bringing an early conclusion to the drawn-out negotiation on defense cost-sharing for the upkeep of some 28,500 American troops stationed here.

Meanwhile, Biegun did not make a courtesy visit to President Moon.

On the previous day, he met with Foreign Ministry officials, to discuss wide-ranging issues, including ways to revive stalled denuclearization diplomacy with Pyongyang.

Biegun said the US strongly supports inter-Korean cooperation to create a more stable environment on the peninsula, while urging the North to appoint his counterpart for nuclear talks.

Wrapping up his Seoul trip, Biegun departed for Japan in the afternoon to meet with officials there and is scheduled to return to the US on Friday.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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